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EU Ministers Call for Full Implementation of Anti-terrorism Laws

The European Union (EU) held an "extraordinary" meeting of home and justice ministers in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon, calling for full and rapid implementation of all existing laws on fighting terrorism after last Thursday's London bombings.

The meeting declares that the immediate priority is "to build on the existing strong EU framework for pursuing and investigating terrorism across borders, in order to impede terrorists' planning, disrupt supporting networks, cut off any funding and bring terrorists to justice."

Following the Sept 11 terrorist attacks in New York of the United States in 2001, especially after the March 11 terrorists bombings in Madrid of Spain in 2004, the EU has adopted a series of decisions and laws to enhance cooperation on rooting out terrorists.

In March of last year, the EU appointed Dutchman Gijs de Vries as first EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, to take charge of coordination among all its 25 member states.

Telling a press conference after the meeting, British Home Secretary Charles Clarke, whose country holds the EU presidency, urged the EU to use the momentum from international solidarity over the London bombings to rapidly and fully implement the security laws and decisions.

At least 52 people were killed and some 700 injured in the Thursday morning rush-hour bombings in London, the biggest terrorist attacks in Europe after the March 11 attacks in Madrid of last year.

At the meeting, the British presidency proposed several concrete measures to better combat terrorism, including improving police cooperation and introducing a new law allowing the retention of telephone and Internet data.

Britain also called for the EU's 25 member states to agree common standards for security feature on identity cards, as well as rules to combat terror financing, and review aviation and shipping security.

The British interior minister argued that some of the measures which bother civil libertarians, like the use of closed circuit television, could help stop such atrocities.

The police belief that four Muslims who lived in England may have carried out the attacks and died in them has been reinforced by security camera images.

Clarke stressed two aspects in the counter-terrorism cooperation within the 25-member bloc, one is intelligence sharing, the other is to "isolate" the extremists and terrorists.

He also hotly denied having told EU counterparts that some of the suspects in last week's London bomb attacks had been arrested in the past.

The meeting, lasting merely half a day, was held under the proposal of Spanish Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso Suarez.

(Xinhua News Agency July 14, 2005)

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